The holidays are almost here. Most people are thinking of relaxing family gatherings, feasts, wine… But when you have food allergies this can be one of the most stressful times of the year.
“Eating away from home can pose a significant risk to people affected by food allergy. Research suggests that close to half of fatal food allergy reactions are triggered by food consumed outside the home.” ~ Food Allergy Research & Education
By taking some extra precautions you can help ease the anxiety and make the holiday season fun and safe for everyone.
7 Food Allergy Safety Tips for the Holiday Season
- YOU, the food allergy sufferer or parent of food allergic child, ARE THE EXPERT. Don’t be shy. And don’t eat something just because your great aunt says it’s okay. People mean well, but not everyone is experienced at reading labels. And most people have never had to worry about the ingredients of the ingredients. Only you can decide what’s safe for you or your child. Your family and friends may not understand why you pass up their famous dish, most people don’t understand the severity of food allergies, but they do want you safe.
- HOST THE GATHERING OR OFFER TO BRING YOUR OWN FOOD TO SHARE. I know I feel the most at ease when I have bought and prepared my own food. If you can’t host, or don’t want to, bring a dish or two. And prepare your plate, or your child’s plate, first. Once food is passed around, cross contamination can easily happen. Then you can relax and enjoy the time with family and friends.
- GET FAMILY AND FRIENDS INVOLVED. Remind everyone of the allergy. Even though living with food allergies is a daily concern for you and your immediate family, others may need to be reminded. The Family Food Allergy Book is a great gift to help close family and friends understand your situation. If you are hosting and preparing all of the food, you can ask guests to bring non-food items such as paper plates, napkins, or flowers for the table. Or wine!If someone else is preparing the food, discuss the allergy with them. Talk to them about cross contamination and the importance of reading every single label.
- ASK THOSE PREPARING FOOD TO SAVE ALL LABELS. Cut them off of the package, take a picture with a cell phone, or store the entire package in a bag. If you can read the labels of all of the ingredients in a dish, you can better decide if it’s safe for you or your child to eat. And remember that some turkeys come basted. Those may contain soy, wheat, or dairy. So read the labels of EVERYTHING.
- ALWAYS HAVE YOUR MEDICATION HANDY. And let others know where it is. This SHOLDIT Clutch Wrap – Scarf That’s a Purse is a super cute and easy way to carry your epi-pen. And the Epipen Belt Undergarment Sling is another easy way to be prepared.
- COLOR CODED SERVING UTENSILS. Keeping a different colored serving utensil in allergy free dishes will make it easier for you or your child to know which food is safe to eat. Just stress the importance of keeping the ‘Teal Utensils’ in their own dish to avoid cross contamination. This Teal Silicone Slotted Spoon with Hygienic Solid Coating and Teal Silicone KitchenTongs 2 Pack will make it easy to spot what’s safe.
- FUN FOOD LABELS. These cute, printable thanksgiving-food-stickers are a fun and easy way for your child to know what is okay for them to eat. Simply download the labels as PDF and print them out on a self-adhesive or regular paper on your home printer. Place them directly on the allergy safe dishes during holiday dinners. And use them when packaging up leftovers. Labeling your food is a great way to stay safe all year long.FoodPackagingLabels.net
has a big variety of printable labels and stickers.
Take the extra precautions and your holiday gatherings will be more enjoyable. What else do you do to stay safe?